10 Tips for Recruiting Carers For Your Care Home

Recruitment – it’s one of things we often see as a ‘just do it’ task. Who wants to sift through the CVs of hundreds of carers for your available posts? What if there was a smarter way to find better carers for your home? From open days to mentorships, here are 10 tips to recruiting carers for your home.

1. Brand personality

What does your care home stand for? What is the first impression that someone has when they see your buildings? How about carers’ uniforms? Your website? Your social? These are all the ingredients when it comes to the brand of your care home. And they matter beyond how your next flyer or reception sign in sheet looks. In fact, the personality of your brand matters a great deal when it comes to carer recruitment. It’s mostly psychological. We’re spoilt for choice – whether buying a soft drink, grabbing a pizza, or searching for a new job. We’ve hit the point of option overload. And that means that companies are spending time and effort ensuring that their products are cheaper or their website looks snazzier than the next. But that isn’t sustainable. For your care home, it all begins with the feeling that someone gets when they encounter any one or any thing associated with it. So, while your candidate carers may find you on Reed or Monster, they’ll no doubt seek more information about who you are and what you stand for. Do you talk in a human language, or do you use jargon? Are you writing in passive English, or engaging people with active English that inspires thought and action? Do you convey that you care about your residents, or are you implying that you’re providing peace of mind to the relatives and friends who have suggested they stay in your home? If a candidate reaches your site and feels you’re outdated in how you present yourself, or aren’t the type of care home they want to work in, you’ve already lost that person. Our tip is to ensure that your job description, package, advertisement and supporting recruitment activity are aligned to your brand. If you are consistent in this, you’ll find the right carers and they’ll love working for you, and more importantly – your residents.

2. Digital presence

You’ll notice a trend here for your recruitment in 2020 – ensuring the foundations are in place. And that continues with your care home’s digital presence. When candidates are researching your care home, they’ll look to your social media accounts and Google and Bing Business profiles. Social media has grown exponentially, in fact in 2020 we’re at a staggering 3.8 billion people on social. We’re glued to our devices. On a deeper level, think about what makes a great carer – benevolence, respect, empathy and, above all, caring. Your digital profiles can speak to this: - Imagery of your residents - Stories of charitable work you support - Free advice for anyone interested in entering the care industry At a more functional level, your digital profiles should also sign post for your candidates: - Contact us page - Opening hours - Directions (register your Google My Business account to build a profile that can point people to your care home via Google Maps, Waze etc.) - FAQs about your care home - How you are providing a safe working environment with COVID-19 in mind As for your website – if you have a posting for carer vacancies, use the appropriate schema mark up for job vacancies. This is especially important in the light of COVID-19. Schema markup is the technique which ensures your site can feature towards the top of search engines – where you are most likely to click on a result. You can see an example in the image: Your carers will want quick answers, and your digital profiles being optimised will ensure this.

3. Content

With a clear, engaging brand and your digital presence locked in, you can turn your attention to creating content that will attract the hearts and minds of your potential carers. You know what these people care about, and when it comes to finding a job for a care home it pays to look at what makes your business successful – its staff and residents. So, don’t forget that the biggest advertisement and attraction to your care home are these people. One great way to recruit is to get these people to share their stories. Imagine the impact of seeing a video about Betty, the 93 year old who brightens the day of everyone she comes into contact with. Or, how about David, who left school knowing that college and university wasn’t right for him, but an open day at school planted the seed for care work. Now he’s a senior carer in your team, and what a fantastic, motivating experience that is you can share with potential candidates. We all too often forget that we’re all attracted to stories, to emotion, and a happy ending to those stories. Give your residents and carers the opportunity to share theirs, and in return you’re making it very clear what sort of care home a candidate is applying to be a part of.

4. Digital adverts

Your content serves a dual purpose. Yes, it can show candidates the soul of your care home, but content on its own is not enough. After all, if a tree falls in the middle of a forest and no one is there to hear it, did it fall at all? Well, digital adverts are a means to get the message out about your vacancies. Now, this can be a Facebook and Instagram advert, for example, which simply shows the video and gives a link to learn more about the careers available at your home. Alternatively, if you know the radius you’re willing to take candidates from (which you’ll know from your job description), you can place search based (text) ads on Google and Bing Ads that target postcodes near your care home for searches of your candidates. Some examples can be: - Care home roles near me - Care home roles near Bedford - Carer vacancies CV34 9TW Try any number of those searches and you’ll see limited adverts running. This presents a cost-effective way to create a Google and Microsoft Ads plan that has a modest budget or say £100 a month, and you can find targeted, nearby candidates. A PPC agency can support you in identifying the radius you want to target, build out the adverts which can pull in information like your CQC rating, staff stories, the rate of pay and more. This will help you to find people who are actively searching for roles.

5. Minimum wage

COVID-19 has shown the tough times which fall upon the elderly in the face of respiratory based conditions, especially when combined with other long-term conditions. What has been commendable is the efforts of carers to support the frail and shielded throughout this all. In fact, on a wider-scale it is a call to arms for care homes to really do what is right. At the very least, you should be paying the minimum wage. Better yet, aim for the Living Wage: As of April 2020 the UK's minimum wage was 8.72 British pounds per hour, compared with the voluntarily paid living wage which was 9.3 pounds, and 10.75 pounds for people working in London. (Statista, 2020) Paying either of these, especially the latter, will help you stand head and shoulders above the rest.

6. Mentorships

Moreover, consider mentorship. That’s right, a great way to recruit is to show career progression and the support you’ll give carers. Perhaps they are not native-English speakers. Help them in that regard. Or, if they’re new to the industry, assign an experienced carer to get them up to speed. You can go even further with looking at an employee motivation scheme from the likes of Sodexo Engage, who businesses use to reward staff who go above and beyond in their work.

7. Be flexible

Also, be flexible. It’s the COVID era for care homes. Unprecedented challenges are being faced each week, so consider highlighting in job descriptions the options for flexible working. Additionally, if you’re focusing on people out of school, for example, it’s a different generation where there is great value placed on working experience. The last thing you want is to market for a carer role which is filled for only 2 weeks.

8. Recruiters are still needed

Don’t forget to actually work with a recruitment agency. Perhaps steer clear of too much investment in the likes of Monster, Reed etc., and think about specialist recruiters for carers such as carehome.co.uk

9. Referral schemes

It’s a novel idea, but the old marketing principle goes that it’s cheaper to maintain existing customers than find new. If we extend that into recruitment, it translates roughly to it’s cheaper to utilise existing staff than pay recruitment agencies. That’s referral marketing in recruitment. Consider introducing a referral scheme internally for your existing carers to find or recommend other carers who would be worthwhile reviewing. Offering £200 to a carer in your home that finds a successful candidate is considerably more cost-effective than a recruitment agency. In fact, it’s a glowing endorsement of your care home if your staff are willing to recommend you to a friend or ex-colleague. However, be wary that if you don’t receive any referrals it may be either because your staff don’t have any appropriate candidates…or there’s an internal marketing effort needed to address why staff wouldn’t recommend your care home.

10. Volunteering and career days at colleges and schools

It’s something that cannot be overlooked. Indeed, volunteering isn’t the same as filling a paid post for a carer vacancy. However, with the likes of the National Council for Voluntary Organizations in existence, you can look towards creating volunteering roles. Those roles can help you to find people who are interested in your local area, and then offer a volunteering role or even a short-term contract. If you are looking for a volunteering role you either are seeking job experience / getting into an industry, or you genuinely care about an issue. Either way, it’s an audience worth exploring. And then there are local Chambers of Commerce where you can work with these to promote your business and vacancies. As the government shifts its focus from university to further (college) education and vocational skills, why not promote your vacancies at colleges and schools? In fact, you can buck the trend. Find someone like David, out of enjoyment with the world of studying, and a smidgen of a clue about what he wants to do – offer him the chance to learn, earn and that’s a scalable approach. The new wave of UK workforce expects more, and what better way to offer than in the world of caring with your presence at a career day. Perhaps you will find a candidate there and then, or perhaps someone to contact in a couple years to see if they’re interested in a career after you send them a newsletter. Plant the seeds today to help get more candidates in the future. It’s all about thinking outside of the box.

While some items on this top 10 list of carer recruitment tips are stating perhaps the obvious, there are plenty of new ideas for you to help get quality care candidates. Some even leverage old school tactics like referrals or interviewing your staff and residents, but it all comes back to presenting the role and your care home as a place people want to work. If you keep in mind the importance of how you present yourself and delivering a working environment which is attractive, regardless of the how much you spend on the marketing aspect of recruitment, you’ll be inundated with genuine candidates.